High Point Elementary School held its first family math night Oct. 23, featuring the title, "Math Isn't So Scary."

High Point Elementary School held its first family math night Oct. 23, featuring the title, "Math Isn't So Scary."

As part of the event, students in grades 3-5 and parents got to trick-or-treat from station to station to play various math games.

"This is our first math night that we will be having," instructional-support coach Michelle Disbro said. "The goal of the night is to help parents understand what math looks like today. It is different than when they learned math."

Disbro said many parents are intimidated and not sure how to help their children with math. They might not understand some of the strategies used to help solve math problems.

"We are trying to help them so they don't need to be spooked by math," Disbro said. "We want kids to enjoy math."

The High Point presentation started off with a PowerPoint demonstration. Then parents moved from station to station to play games and see what math is like today -- what a treat math really is, Disbro said.

The Gahanna-Jefferson Public Schools recently adopted a new "investigations" math program. Through the program students investigate different math concepts. Besides doing typical math activities, games are embedded throughout the program to help students and parents understand math thinking, Disbro said.

Math has changed a lot from 20 years ago, when teachers would tell students how to do the equations. Now teachers want students to understand what the equations mean, not just how to come up with the correct answer, Disbro said.

"It is helping them understand exactly what they are doing," Disbro said. "There are a lot of different strategies, not just one way to solve it."

Although teachers eventually want the correct answer, they want students first to develop thinking skills and strategies so they can process the math.

Lincoln Elementary School also held a math night for all grade levels Oct. 23. Students and parents teamed up to play math games that required active problem-solving skills that are part of the "investigations" series.

"It is a chance for families to come and play games from the new math series," instructional-support coach Rachel Wachtman said. "We are highlighting games from the new math series."

Wachtman said the school communicates frequently with parents about math and recently hosted a math night for third-graders. The family math night is an opportunity for parents to play games to see the math concepts students are learning.

"Parents have another way to interact with kids in mathematics in a positive way," she said.

This is the third year Lincoln has hosted the math night. The program has had overwhelmingly positive reaction. This year nearly 400 people -- 186 families -- participated in the event, Wachtman said.

She said the new math series stresses the importance of a strong math foundation and the importance of understanding how numbers relate to each other. The program gives students a deeper understanding about numbers, she said.